If there’s anyone out there unfortunate enough to have never visited Disneyland, there’s an awesome ride in Tomorrowland called the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (I swear there’s a point to this). You sit in these submarines and watch through windows as the ocean and recognizable characters go by.
Okay, so it’s not really the ocean, and fish don’t really talk. I know.
But there’s actually something similar to this in Morro Bay. Sub Sea Tours and Kayaks in Morro Bay offers a different way to experience the environment that is Morro Bay — underwater. And it’s pretty cool.
I went on one of these voyages two weeks ago, and had a good time. The weather was great and the bay couldn’t have been prettier. My boat captain was Kevin Winfield, who has owned Sub Sea Tours and Kayaks with his wife since 2000. He was friendly, funny and welcoming and kept sharing interesting facts with the passengers during the trip. Winfield used to be a fisherman, and when the opportunity to own the company came up, he took it. He said it’s worked out well.
“It’s better than working for a living,” Winfield said.
We started out the tour above water and Winfield took us all the way across the bay, pointing out sea life. First we stopped by a bunch of sea lions just chilling and barking their little hearts out. A few even swam in front of our boat. Winfield said there’s an agreement between him and the sea lions.
“I go straight, they get out of the way,” Winfield said.
There was so much great wildlife out on the bay: blue herons, otters and pelicans. Winfield took the boat over to the other side of the bay next to the 23-million-year-old volcanic Morro Rock, which is even more impressive up close — he said it was once used as a quarry. We also stopped by a group of sea otters floating in the water like they couldn’t be bothered. Winfield dropped a fact about these furry friends too — he said otter fur is the most dense in the world.
The next part of the tour was the best. We went into the lower level of the boat, which had windows on both sides, and Winfield took the boat around in a circle twice to help draw out the fish — he said it was like playing the ice cream truck music.
It took a little while and the water was kind of dirty, but Winfield started throwing food out, and soon, there were a bunch of fish swimming right by the windows. It was pretty cool, like a moving aquarium. The only fish we saw on my trip were California golden jacksmelt — but Winfield said a variety of species have been spotted out in the bay such as striped bass, ocean sunfish and bat rays (which he said can grow to more than 100 pounds).
Winfield also took us into an area of giant sea kelp where some of the bunches of kelp were so big they covered the whole window.
The best part of running Sub Sea Tours and Kayaks is meeting new people, Winfield said. In the summer season, they give the tours all the time, and “you better meet new people or it’ll drive you kind of nuts,” he said.
If you like the idea of going out on the bay but are maybe looking to spend a little more time there, Sub Sea Tours and Kayaks also offers kayak and canoe rentals, and — even cooler — whale watching tours. December through April is the best time to see gray whales, but starting in June, humpback whales can be seen in the bay.
So it might not have had any talking fish, but the sub-sea tours of Morro Bay are really fun. At this time of year the weather is perfect for spending a day out on the water, and this is a new way to get up close to all the great sea life in the area.
The tours are $14 for adults for a 45-minute tour.